July 13, 2016

Tom Switzer

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

Tom Switzer:
[Privatisation] would say to the ABC management:
You can put on as much Left wing ideological, tainted, journalism as you like — be frank about it — but just not at tax-payers expense. …
[And,] you'd be saving taxpayers up to more than million dollars every year …
Some programs, clearly, would not sell.
And others would continue to aggravate people like me.
But the point is, at least taxpayers would not be forced to pay for it. …

[Then] of course you've got this digital evolution … that's costing jobs … it's threatening the very viability of newspapers …
And let's be frank, when Rupert Murdoch goes, its highly unlikely that good quality flagship papers like the Australian will prevail.
In that environment, why should a tax-payer funded, free-to-the-consumer competitor, be allowed to expand on their turf?
There's something fundamentally unfair about that. …

My point is, that with the bias there and the changing media landscape, I don't think the ABC can be a public service broadcaster …

All things considered, the ABC News is more professional and it covers the big issues of the day in more detail than the commercial networks.
But my point is: [there's] a plethora of [digital] news and media [out there …]
[These] days, people … can read the New York Times or the Guardian newspaper online — we're well informed.
Do we need a publicly funded broadcaster to fill us in on those issues? …

[If, as the polls indicate, public broadcasting has 89% support in the community, why] would the marketplace let [such a] valuable franchise die?
If it were a commercially viable entity … how would privatising lead to diminishing the quality of it's product?
(Should the ABC be privatised?, Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, 10 June 2013)

Kim Robinson (1952):
A presidential transition was a major thing, and there were famous cases of failed transitions [and] the dire consequences that ineptitude in this area could have on the subsequent fates of the presidents involved.
It was important to make a good running start, to craft the kind of "first hundred days" that had energized the incoming administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, setting the model for that most presidents since to try to emulate.
Critical appointments had to be made, bold new programs turned into law.
(Sixty Days and Counting, Bantam, 2007, p 29)

(Adriana Bosch, Eisenhower, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 1993)

The Wrong Side History

Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969):
Neither a wise man or a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.
(6 October 1952)

Tom Switzer:
I'm joined by [Nigel Lawson] the chairman of The Global Warming Policy Foundation
[Nigel, do] you think there will come a time when historians will look back at the past decade or so and say that this climate hysteria reached its peak and rational debate was at its most restricted and politicians at their most gullible?

Nigel Lawson:
Yes, I think that this will be seen … as one of these outbreaks of collective madness which happen from time to time …
(New climate deal faces hurdles, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 21 May 2015)

Tom Switzer:
[Patricia Adams is the author of a recent report from] The Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. …
[Patricia, there are those that] insist that climate change represents such a grave threat to humanity … that the world has no choice but to … end fossil fuels entirely.
Is history on their side?

Patricia Adams:
No, it's not on their side.
Countries that have developed in the last 200 to 300 years have done so because of the use of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels have empowered our economies:
  • to raise standards of living, [and]
  • to provide jobs for people.
The key … is to use fossil fuels cleanly. …
And when I say cleanly, I mean to get rid of the emissions that come out of them that kill people …
CO2 is not a killer. …
I don't think CO2 is as dangerous as some of the other forms of energy.
It may be a problem, we have to keep a watch on it, but I don't think that it solves any problem by saying we've got to eliminate fossil fuels:
  • [firstly, it's not] going to happen … certainly not in [the] foreseeable future [and]
  • [secondly,] what about the alternatives that are being proposed?
    They also cause environmental problems …
[The Paris climate change agreement is just] a cash-grab … by the developing countries. …
(Is China really showing 'leadership' on tackling climate change?, Counterpoint, 31 October 2016)

Freeman Dyson [Academic Advisor, Global Warming Policy Foundation]:
[The problems caused by global warming] are being grossly exaggerated.
They take away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent and important.
Poverty, infectious diseases, public education and public health.
Not to mention the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans.
(Commencement Address, University of Michigan, Winter 2005)

[The] environmental movement [has been] hijacked by a bunch of climate fanatics, who have captured the attention of the public with scare stories. …
China and India have a simple choice to make.
Either they get rich [by burning prodigious quantities of coal and causing] a major increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, or they stay poor.
I hope they choose to get rich. …
The good news is that the main effect of carbon dioxide … on the planet is to make [it] greener, [by] feeding the growth of green plants of all kinds [and] increasing the fertility of farms and fields and forests.
(Misunderstandings, questionable beliefs mar Paris climate talks, Boston Globe, 3 December 2015)

Miranda Devine:
Environmentalism is the powerful new secular religion and politically correct scientists are its high priests …
It used to be men in purple robes who controlled us; soon it will be men in white lab coats.
The geeks shall inherit the earth.
(John Quiggan, Innovation: the test is yet to come, Inside Story, 10 December 2015)

Peter Van Onselen [Associate Professor in Politics and Government, Edith Cowan University; Contributing Editor, The Australian]:
[According to Miranda Devine, the Delcons (Delusional Conservatives) believe] the Liberals should lose the election.
[That] it's better for the Liberals to lose to Labor.
And there is a candle being held to the possibility of a Tony Abbott comeback. …
Andrew Bolt decided he was one …
Nick Cater from the Menzies Research Centre …
[Tom Switzer's] definitely a Delcon.
(Gambling on Turnbull, Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 7 September 2016)

(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, Episode 2, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)

The Scientific American: Ignorance is Strength

Donald Trump (1946):
I am your voice!

George Washington (1732—1799):
There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature.
Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness.
(Address to Congress, 8 January 1790)

John Kennedy (1917—1963):
We choose to go to the Moon.
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. …

We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding. …

And [so,] as we set sail, we ask God's blessing, on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.
(Rice University Address on the Nation's Space Effort, Houston, Texas, 2 September 1962)

Ronald Reagan (1911—2004):
Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?
(Campaign Speech, 1980)

Larry Marshall (CEO, CSIRO):
[We're making] a fundamental shift away from curiosity-led research …
(The inconvenient scientists, Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, 29 May 2016)

Donald Trump:
Science is science and facts are facts.

Grading the US Presidential Candidates on Science
(Christine Gorman & Ryan Mandelbaum, Scientific American, 26 September 2016)

Total Score64/957/95 (scored 0/5 for 12/19 questions)
Climate Climate4/50/5
Clinton acknowledges that "climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time."
She outlines a [10 year plan:]
  • "to generate half of our electricity from clean sources,"
  • to cut "energy waste" [in homes, hospitals and schools] by a third and
  • to "reduce American oil consumption by a third" …
To achieve these goals she plans to "implement and build on" current "pollution and efficiency standards and clean energy tax incentives."
Clinton loses a point for not saying where she will find the money to pay for such initiatives.
Trump refers to "climate change" in quotation marks, apparently to signal that he still believes — as he has asserted in the past — that human-caused global warming is a hoax.
Then he suggests that "our limited financial resources" are best spent on things such as clean water and anti-malaria efforts, without acknowledging the argument that the success of such efforts could be largely influenced by how climate change is addressed.
Clinton says "climate change, pollution, habitat destruction," and other forces "pose serious threats to biodiversity and our way of life."
She mentions plans "to double the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants" to help communities and tribal nations conserve various types of wildlife "before they become threatened or endangered."
She also wants to "establish an American Parks Trust Fund" to "modernize how we protect and enhance our natural treasures."
Clinton loses points for not discussing the funding or execution of these plans.
Trump blames "agencies filled with unelected officials" for "writing rules and regulations" that "cater to special interests."
He says there should be a "shared governance of our public lands" and that "state and local governments" should be empowered to protect "wildlife and fisheries."
A healthy ecosystem—crucial to the survival of humans and other species—is not a "special interest."
The Internet3/51/5
Mental Health3/51/5
Clinton "rejects the notion that we as a country are forced to choose between
  • our economy,
  • our environment, and
  • our security."
She hopes to … install "half a billion solar panels" by the end of her first term.
She plans to:
  • launch "a $60 billion clean energy challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy;"
  • invest "in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development;" …
  • [reform] "leasing and expand clean energy production on public lands and waters tenfold within a decade;"
  • [cut] "the billions of wasteful tax subsidies [handed out to] oil and gas companies;" [and]
  • "cut methane emissions."
Her detailed plan includes specific funds required and how she will work alongside climate change deniers.
Trump says Americans should "achieve energy independence as soon as possible," and that "a thriving market system" will allow for a consumers to pick "the best sources of energy for future consumption."
Scientific American has previously reported on why the free market alone cannot stop climate change and has characterized the goal of "energy independence" as a bipartisan pipe dream.
Trump fails to provide any details for his energy policy.
Clinton lists statistics including that "less than one in five high school students has ever taken a computer science course."
She supports President Barack Obama's existing "Computer Science for All" initiative, and hopes to "train an additional 50,000 [computer science] teachers in the next decade."
She mentions plans to support states that develop "innovative schools" and to support diverse institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
More than one reader wrote to Scientific American criticizing her response for focusing too much on "computer science."
Trump says "there are a host of STEM programs already in existence," and wants to focus on "market influences to bring better, higher quality educational circumstances to more children."
Yet recent investigations of private education companies such as ITT — not to mention Trump University — for deceptive advertising practices, among other things, make clear that the for-profit education industry is no panacea.
Public Health4/50/5
Clinton argues that "we are not investing in public health preparedness and emergency response the way we should," and backs up her claim with evidence showing that "spending on public health had fallen more than 9% since 2008."
She says she plans to address the problem in part by creating a "Public Health Rapid Response Fund" that offers "consistent, year-to-year budgets, to better enable" public health officials "to quickly and aggressively respond to major public health crises and pandemics."
Clinton loses a point for not detailing how much money she thinks the rapid response budget should contain or how it will be funded.
Trump suggests that "in a time of limited resources," public health spending may not provide "the greatest bang for the buck."
In fact, studies show that public health efforts typically offer returns on investment of between 125% and 3,900%, depending on the program.
Trump offers no indication that he has grappled with the issue in any detail.
He also states that he will work with Congress to make sure that "adequate resources are assigned to achieve our goals" — not noting that Congress has still declined, as of press time, to approve money to deal with the Zika threat that has emerged in the southern US.
Clinton says she worries about our country's "chronic underinvestment" in drinking and wastewater systems, and is concerned with risks to humans, wildlife and ecosystems.
She hopes to "invest in infrastructure" to modernize water resources and that the federal government will be a "better partner" to "improve water security" on the local level.
She adds that she would like to create a "Western Water Partnership" to handle these issues in the west and to establish a "Water Innovation Lab" to bring farmers, engineers, entrepreneurs and others together to deal with water issues.
She does not outline a time schedule or monetary assessment of these plans.
Trump says water "may be the most important issue we face as a nation for the next generation," but offers no solutions other than "making desalinization more affordable."
But as one reader noted, we "cannot desalinate our way out of the problem."
Increasing supply without boosting conservation and reuse is not sustainable.
Meanwhile, Trump told a crowd at a rally in Fresno that "there is no drought" in California.
His inconsistencies earn him zero points.
Nuclear Power3/51/5
Clinton proposes to do more to "support family farms," which made up 97% of farm operations in the US in 2011.
She also plans to expand investment in the rural economy and health care.
Most of her answer is based on economic arguments and does not address using "objective knowledge from science," as described in the question.
Trump thinks that "the agriculture industry should be free to seek its best solutions through the market system," but offers no guidance on how to unravel the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the industry via
  • federal subsidies,
  • government-funded agricultural research and
  • government-led international market development.
Global Challenges3/50/5
Clinton says she would like to "appoint our country's first Special Envoy for Climate Change" and make climate policy "a key part of our broader relationship with China" and others.
She plans to cut emissions by "at least 80 percent of 2005 levels by mid century" through "more clean energy investment in emerging economies" and other methods.
She would like to create a "dedicated Rapid Response Fund" and "comprehensive global health strategy" to help "shore up our defenses" against epidemics and pandemics.
Clinton loses points for offering plenty of facts but few specifics as to what multilateral partnerships or a comprehensive global health strategy will look like.
Trump believes that "a prosperous America is a much better partner in tackling global problems."
And yet, there is little evidence that wealth automatically translates into better decisions on a variety of issues.
The gross domestic product of the US is one of the highest of any country in the world according to the CIA's The World Factbook, but the US is also one of the top greenhouse gas emitters and ranks 31st in life expectancy, according to the World Health Organization.
Trump’s answer is built on an incorrect premise.
Clinton says "it is essential that environmental, health, and energy regulations, among other areas, use the best available science to guide decision-making."
She does not, however, address how to maintain a thriving business sector without compromising American health and the environment.
Trump says we must balance a "thriving economy" with resources and "protecting citizens from threats," and that "science will inform our decisions."
These assertions are inconsistent with previous false statements on climate change and vaccine safety rendered throughout his campaign.
Clinton touches on a variety of concerns, which shows that she has thoroughly engaged in the issue.
Among other things, she wants to allow first responders to administer naloxone (an anti-overdose treatment).
Trump focuses on illicit drug smuggling, leaving out the arguably larger problem of addiction to prescription drugs.
He asserts that he can stop the flow of opioids into the US but offers no details on how he would change current drug enforcement policy, demonstrating a near-total lack of understanding of the issue.
Ocean Health4/50/5
Clinton promises to "oppose efforts in Congress that seek to weaken" current legislation against overfishing in US Waters.
She also promises to "act globally to address the fisheries crisis" as well as the negative impact of rising temperature and acidification of ocean water.
Trump does not mention the ocean, fish, fisheries, coral reefs or coastlines in his answer.
Scientific Integrity4/50/5
Clinton recognizes one of the largest issues in objective science: conflicts of interest that can lead to self-serving results.
(A prime example: the recent realization that some companies had suppressed or redirected scientific findings regarding sugar's effect on coronary heart disease.)
While her answer can use more detail, it demonstrates a willingness to fight for evidence-based knowledge rather than results that are politically or economically driven.
Trump says "science is science and facts are facts," and yet his campaign has repeatedly demonstrated an utter disregard for facts.
His PolitiFact scorecard shows more than two thirds of his statements to be "Mostly False," "False," or "Pants on Fire," which is unprecedented in its evaluation of politicians.
In an evaluation sent to us, a college instructor from Michigan characterized Trump's response to this question "as so simplistic that it made me concerned that he may not actually understand the scientific method or the government structures that support it."

Populism in America

Alexis ClĂ©rel (1805–1859): Viscount of Tocqueville

General Jackson, whom the Americans have twice elected to the head of their Government, is a man of a violent temper and mediocre talents; no one circumstance in the whole course of his career ever proved that he is qualified to govern a free people, and indeed the majority of the enlightened classes of the Union has always been opposed to him. …
(p 335)

We have been told that … he is an energetic man, prone by nature and by habit to the use of force, covetous of power, and a despot by taste.
(p 479)

It is by perpetually flattering [the passions of the people] that he maintains his station and his popularity.
General Jackson is the slave of the majority:
  • he yields to its wishes, its propensities, and its demands;
  • say rather, that he anticipates and forestalls them. …

General Jackson stoops to gain the favor of the majority, but when he feels that his popularity is secure, he overthrows all obstacles in the pursuit
  • of the objects which the community approves, or
  • of those which it does not look upon with a jealous eye.
(p 480)

He is supported by a power with which his predecessors were unacquainted; and he tramples on his personal enemies whenever they cross his path with a facility which no former President [has] ever enjoyed …
(p 481)

(Democracy in America, Vol I, 1835, Bantam, 2011)

In Trump We Trust: From Reality Television to Fantasy Government

Nicolas de Caritat (1743–1794) [Marquis de Condorcet]:
If we cannot find voters who are sufficiently enlightened, we must avoid making a bad choice by accepting as candidates, only those men in whose competence we can trust.

William King (1874–1950) [Prime Minister of Canada, 1921-26, 1926-30, 1935-48):
The extreme man is always more or less dangerous, but nowhere more so than in politics.
(Margaret MacMillan, History's People, Text, 2015, p 51)

Don Watson:
Noble and creative as it has often been, provider of an essential thread in the best of the American ideal and source of a rare grace one encounters only in the United States, American Christianity also disguises fear and feeds ignorance, paranoia and prejudice, along with a readiness to smite enemies with weapons of unspeakable destructive force.
(Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump, Quarterly Essay, Issue 63, 2016, p 23)

Alice Miranda Ollstein [Political Reporter]:
According to a book written by [Argentinian President] Macri’s father Franco, Trump threw a tantrum after losing a round of golf to Mauricio Macri and broke his friend’s golf clubs — one by one.
(There is a lot more to the Trump Argentina story, ThinkProgress, 23 November 2016)

Ying Ma [Deputy Director of a Trump Super PAC, The Committee for American Sovereignty]:
[We] know that in state-craft, every now and then, to be unpredictable is not such a bad thing in negotiations. …
One of the reasons Donald Trump won is that … he is able to simplify a lot of issues that the GOP have not been able to simplify for voters …
(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)

John Quiggin:
[In the late 1990s, when debating about the Great Depression, Real Business Cycle advocates] downplayed the huge downturn in output between 1929 and 1933, focusing instead on the slowness of the subsequent recovery, which they blamed, unsurprisingly, on Franklin D Roosevelt and the New Deal.
(Zombie Economics, Princeton University Press, 2012, p 101)

Mary Kissel: Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal

The American people were discontented with the economic malaise that we have seen over the Obama presidency.
We have had the worst recovery since the Great Depression …
{[In] a normal recovery America would grow 4-5% a year and what President Obama did was tax and spend, and crush the private sector in red tape and so [we] didn't get the normal bounce-back recovery. …
So when you hear that there's some sort of new normal out there and we should just accept this kind of growth; well it isn't normal and Americans don't accept that level of growth …}

Voters repudiated government paternalism.
The Obama administration have injected … an enormous about of regulatory diktat on the American public.
They've inflicted:
  • their cultural mores in the forms of transgender bathrooms …
  • their law suits against Catholic nuns, and
  • their views on religion.
[This] is a very strong message to the Democratic party that the American people simply reject their big government, high tax liberalism.
They want to return to growth and they want to return to American leadership in the world …

2016Donald (1946)Hillary (1947)
Popular Vote45.95%48.04%
Electoral Vote56.50%42.20%

2000George WAl
Popular Vote47.87%48.38%
Electoral Vote50.4%49.4%

Edward Rosenthal:
Since 1824, three different presidential candidates have lost the popular vote but won the election:
  • Rutherford B Hayes in 1876,
  • Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and
  • George W Bush in 2000.
(The Complete Idiot's Guide To Game Theory, 2011, p 187)

[Hillary won the popular vote by 2,865,075 and lost the electoral vote by 77.]
Among the 24,537 respondents to the CNN exit poll, 47% voted for Donald (vs 50% for Hillary):]
  • 42% of women [and 53% of men (vs the 54% of women and 41% of men for Hillary) …]
  • a larger percentage of the black vote than Mitt Romney — 8%, [and]
  • 29% of latinos and asians …

53% of respondents approved of Barack Obama as president, of whom 84% (45% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.
Over 50% of respondents had a unfavorable opinion of each candidate:
  • Donald (60%)
  • Hillary (54%)
  • Both (18%)
69% were dissatisfied/angry with the federal government, of whom 58% (40% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
50% thought the government was doing too much, of whom 73% (36% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
45% thought the government was doing too little, of whom 74% (33% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.

62% thought the country was on the wrong track, of whom 69% (43% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
39% felt that being a change agent was what mattered most in a candidate, of whom 83% (32% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

66% of were from suburban or rural areas, of whom 53% (35% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
Of the 34% from urban areas, 59% (25% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.

64% reported earning $50,000 or more, of whom 49% (31% of all respondents) voted for Donald (vs 47% for Hillary).
Of the 36% who earned less than $50,000, 52% (19% of all respondents) voted for Hillary (vs 41% for Donald).

70% were white, of whom 58% (41% of all respondents) voted for Donald:
  • 63% (21% of all respondents) of white men, and
  • 53% (20% of all respondents) of white women.
50% had a college degree, of whom 52% voted for Hillary (vs 43% for Donald):
  • 49% (18% of all respondents) of whites with a degree voted for Donald (vs 45% for Hillary),
    • 54% (9% of all respondents) of white men with a degree voted for Donald, while
    • 51% (10% of all respondents) of white women with a degree voted for Hillary,
  • 71% (9% of all respondents) of non-whites with a degree voted for Hillary.
Of the 50% who did not have a degree, 52% voted for Donald (vs 44% for Hillary):
  • 67% (23% of all respondents) of whites without a degree voted for Donald, while
  • 75% (12% of all respondents) of non-whites without a degree voted for Hillary.

[I wouldn't] classify Colin Powell as a Republican.
[He backed] President Obama. …

[Foreign] policy is a concern with Donald Trump.
He doesn't seem to know much about the world. …
What isn't known is [whether what says about the alliance system and trade protectionism] is simply a negotiating ploy from the guy who wrote "The Art of the Deal'; [a guy] who takes an extreme [ambit position before moving to a] more reasonable stance when he's actually at the negotiating table — we just don't know.
The idea that Trump would abandon American alliances in Asia is absurd.

[The liberal] media often takes Trump literally, when he speaks … because that's how they've treated every other president, but … Donald Trump is [not] like any other president …
They've called him a fascist — I don't believe that he's that …
I believe [that] we have a system of checks and balances [in this country] and that it will function very well …
I caution against hearing his words and taking him literally, I don't think that's how we can hear him and understand him. …

Climate change, for the left, means imposing an enormous amount of regulation and cost on the American consumer, and it means favoring certain politically connected industries namely solar and wind, and that is probably going to go away with the Donald Trump presidency, and that's not a bad thing. …
The American people were [also] concerned that a Clinton presidency would usher in a Supreme Court that simply made up the law to suit the liberal progressive agenda; [and, they] voted resoundingly against Obamacare …

30% of respondents indicated supreme court appointments were not an important voting issue.
Of the 70% for whom it was important:
  • 50% (35% of all respondents) voted for Donald, while
  • 46% (32% of all respondents) supported Hillary.
75% were Christians, of whom 56% (42% of all respondents) voted for Donald, including:
  • 81% (21% of all respondents) of white born-again or evangelical Christians,
  • 52% (12% of all respondents) of Catholics, and
  • 61% (1% of all respondents) of Mormons.
47% thought Obamacare went "too far", of whom 83% (39% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

{In many respects Donald Trump is a leap of faith.
We know there is at least a potential upside with him on the economic growth front.
Whereas, [with Hillary Clinton, there was] zero economic upside [combined with a record of] many poor decisions [such as] the Iran deal and … the Russian reset with Putin.
So voters did have a clear choice, and now we're going to live with the consequences.}

(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)

Exit Poll 2016

CNN Politics

Each candidate was considered dishonest/untrustworthy by over 60% of 24,537 respondents:
  • Donald (63%)
  • Hillary (61%)
  • Both (29%)
63% thought Donald did not have the right temperament to be president (vs 43% for Hillary).
However, of these, 20% (13% of all respondents) voted for him anyway.
Of the 14% who thought neither candidate had the right temperament, 71% (10% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

49% had an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party, of whom 85% (42% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
55% had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, of whom 73% (40% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.

63% felt the state of the national economy was poor, of whom 63% (40% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
31% thought the financial situation had improved in the last 4 years, while 27% thought it had worsened.
A greater proportion thought Donald (49%) would better handle the economy than Hillary (46%).
However, of the 52% who thought the economy was the most important issue facing the country:
  • 52% (27% of all respondents) voted for Hillary, while
  • 42% (22% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

45% were bothered "a lot" by Hillary's use of private email, of whom 87% (39% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
43% thought the US criminal justice system treated everyone fairly, of whom 74% (32% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
56% were aged 45 and older, of whom 53% (30% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
13% were veterans, of whom 61% (8% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

50% of native born Americans voted for Donald (vs 45% for Hillary).
70% of respondents thought illegal immigrants working in the US should be offered legal status, of whom 60% (42% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.
Of the 25% who thought they should be deported, 84% (21% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
41% supported a wall along the entire Mexican border, of whom 86% (35% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
13% thought that immigration was the most important issue facing the country, of whom 64% (8% of all respondents) voted for Donald.

65% were Liberal or Moderate in ideology, of whom 65% (42% of all respondents) voted for Hillary.
Of the 35% who were Conservative, 81% (28% of all respondents) voted for Donald.
48% of Independents voted for Donald (vs 42% for Hillary).

13% made their voting decision in the last week, of whom 47% (6% of all respondents) voted for Donald and 42% (5% of all respondents) for Hillary.

Government of the People, by the President, for the President (and his family)

No … person holding any office of profit or trust under [the United States,] shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
(Emoluments Clause, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, US Constitution)

Judd Legum: Editor-In-Chief

Donald Trump is leveraging his new position as president-elect to empower his business empire …
Instead of liquidating his assets and placing them in a Qualified Diversified Trust, as President Bush did, or investing in index funds and government bonds, as President Obama did, Trump has done nothing.

He’s waved away concerns about conflicts-of-interest, saying that he would just hand over control of his business interests to his children.
He called this a “blind trust” but it is actually the [complete] opposite.
A blind trust is when you hand marketable assets over to a neutral third party to control.
The contents of the trust, since they can be traded at any time by the administrator, are soon unknown to you.
Trump knows what his assets are and says he is handing them to his children.

Immediately after Trump’s election, he named three of his adult children — Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr — to his transition team.
This means the same people running the Trump Organization will also be choosing the top officials in the Trump administration. …
[And since] Trump will retain ownership in his businesses, [success of those businesses] will mean money in Trump’s pocket.

(This isn’t just a photo of Ivanka Trump. It’s a middle finger to democracy, ThinkProgress, 18 November, 2016)

Alice Miranda Ollstein: Politics Reporter

[There is mounting evidence that Donald] Trump and his adult children are leveraging the presidency to advance their business interests. …
[Felipe] Yaryura, the Argentinian investor working on building a Trump Tower in Buenos Aires, … breakfasted with Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr the [morning after the election,] where they spoke about how Trump’s presidency would improve his company’s brand worldwide, and in Argentina in particular.

{Trump rejected the State Department’s help in fielding calls from around the world, and chose instead to wing it on unsecured phone lines.}

(There is a lot more to the Trump Argentina story, ThinkProgress, 23 November 2016)

The Global War on Political Correctness: Bring On The Culture Wars

Tom Switzer

[Malcolm Turnbull] needs a new model of governance that sidesteps an obstructionist and riff-raff Senate.
The side that picks the issues dominates the political debate, and the advantage lies with the Bully Pulpit if the Prime Minister will use it.
Why not call on the states to ditch the politically correct Safe Schools [anti-bullying] program?
Or encourage Muslim leaders to assimilate to Western cultural norms?
The culture-war list is endless, and it would resonate with what [John Howard] once called:
The decent conservative mainstream of Australia.
(PM must play the Right card, The Age, 11 July 2016 p 16)

Niall Ferguson

[Trump is,] in some measure, a reaction against [political correctness. …]
What was, to many people, deeply exhilarating about Trump's speeches was their completely unfiltered quality: that every single thing that was politically incorrect was there.
And I don't think it would have been as appealing, it would not have been as exciting, if these had not become taboos.
Now I can't condone the xenophobia, the misogyny — it all in there and its malignant — but the reason that it's popular, the reason that it resonates, is that we've created [a] stifling culture of self-censorship:
  • in our academies,
  • in our universities, [and]
  • in the media …

(Sydney Opera House Lecture, Centre for Independent Studies, 24 May 2016)

Laura Tingle

[When] John Howard came into office in 1996 [he] argued that a "political correctness" was at work in Australia which didn't allow ordinary Australians to express their disquiet over welfare recipients or Asian Immigration or Aboriginal people.
Australia was being run by "elites" whose opinions didn't reflect those of the "mainstream" or "silent majority." …
[His] push back against what he saw as self-censoring Australian political discussion had its own fallout.
It gave room for people like Pauline Hanson to emerge.
There was a new intolerance for those advocating for asylum seekers, or indigenous people, or the marginalised.
Such advocates were characterised as "bleeding hearts," or in more recent years the ultimate insult: "lefties."
It seems there is no one in the middle ground anymore.
You are either a "mainstream Australian" or a "leftie."
(p 13)

… John Howard launched a war on indigenous organisations, starting with [the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).]
The charge was financial mismanagement.
ATSIC certainly had its problems, but Howard not only brought down ATSIC but also systematically broke the institutional structures of black Australia by cutting funding to bodies such as the land councils and health and legal services.
Since then there have been the "interventions" and the embrace of the policies pursued on Cape York by Noel Pearson.
But the approach and delivery has become erratic and utterly non transparent.
(p 32)

[The] era when executive government and the bureaucracy still worked cooperatively … to get policy outcomes that were both politically and practically successful ended … when John Howard won government and sacked a raft of department heads in what became known as his "Night of the Long Knives."
This sent a shockwave through the public service and, in combination with a series of radical reforms to the public sector, accelerated a decline in its ability to make policy. …

Tony Abbott's sacking in 2013 of more public servants, including the head of Treasury, because of their association with policies on climate change and asylum seekers — to which the Coalition was hostile [— further] cowed much of the public service and helped build a toadying culture.
(p 22)

(Political Amnesia: How we forgot how to govern, Issue 60, December 2015)

Waleed Ali

The narrative — promulgated by both Howard and his devotees in the commentariat — was that Australian cultural institutions and the telling of Australian history had been captured by a leftist orthodoxy spreading a 'black armband' version of Australian history that emphasized, exaggerated and even distorted the atrocities of colonial violence against the indigenous population.
This in turn precipitated cultural relativism and an obsession with political correctness.
At fault were the proliferation of:
  • special-interest groups,
  • leftist academics and, …
  • a biased media.
On this last point, the ABC was particularly pilloried. …

Accordingly, Howard undertook the very project he so despised in his leftist foes, promoting what we might call, in the prevailing spirit of [ideological] trench warfare: a Right orthodoxy on history and culture.
Australia's history was 'heroic,' its 'blemishes' insufficient to negate its net positive [moral] 'balance sheet.'
Meanwhile he articulated a new Australian mythology centred on military history [—] Anzac Day, once a fading reference point, was reinvigorated to the point of national definition. …
(p 65)

Neo-conservatives … posit a clear, identifiable, [pure and] unproblematic national culture [—] a culture that was comparatively homogenous until the relativism of the Left tore at its fabric.
This is an ossified, nostalgic fiction. …
The history on which this nostalgia is based is … ideologically coloured.
So the diggers in Gallipoli were fighting for freedom (rather than the British Empire), just as those in Iraq were fighting for freedom.
Or similarly, ours is a culture that stems from the Judeo-Christian tradition, in spite of the fact that the Jewish tradition is very different from the Christian one, and very many Christians before World War II would probably have been repulsed at the connection being drawn.
These are new constructions, presented as history for the purpose of creating what masquerades as an old, established culture. …
(p 76)

(What's Right? The Future of Conservatism in Australia, Issue 37, March 2010)

Would you like to know more?


Climate Hysteria

Privitizing the ABC


Senior Fellow, United States Studies Centre, Sydney University.
Presenter, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National.
Senior Advisor to former federal Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson.
Former Assistant Editor, American Enterprise Institute.

  • New climate deal faces hurdles, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 21 May 2015

    Tom Switzer:
    {[Nigel,] I think your views are always worth hearing (at least on my show) …}
    Listeners should know that you and I have been talking about [climate] issues for the best part of a decade …

    Tim Flannery did not predict permanent drought

    Tom Switzer:
    Here is Tim Flannery predicting permanent drought in NSW on ABC's Lateline 10 years ago …

    Tim Flannery:
    Since 1998 particularly we've seen just drought, drought, drought — particularly [in] regions like Sydney …
    If you look at the Warragamba catchment figures since 98 the water has been in virtual freefall and they've got about 2 years of supply left …
    So when the models start confirming what you're observing on the ground then there's some fairly strong basis for believing that we're understanding what's causing these … rainfall declines and [that] they do seem to be of a permanent nature.
    I don't think it's just a cycle …
    [The] worst case or Sydney is that the climate that's existed for the last 7 years continues for another 2 years.

    Drought and reduced average rainfall are not the same thing.
    Multi-decadal declines in average rainfall have been observed across southern Australia.
    These trends may well be permanent.
    Reductions in average rainfall are likely to increase the frequency and severity of droughts.

    CSIRO / BoM:
    [Since] 1970 there has been a 17 per cent decline in average winter rainfall in the southwest of Australia. …
    [Similarly, south eastern Australia] has experienced a 15 per cent decline in late autumn and early winter rainfall since the mid-1990s, with a 25 per cent reduction in average rainfall across April and May. …
    (p 6)

    Further decreases in average rainfall are expected over southern Australia [in future.]
    [Consequently, droughts] are expected to become more frequent and severe in southern Australia. …
    (State of the Climate 2014, p 15)

    Tim Flannery:
    Between 1990 and 1996 the total flow into all eleven of Sydney’s dams had averaged 71,635 megalitres, but by 2003 this had dropped to just 39,881 megalitres, a decline of 45 per cent.
    (The Weather Makers, Text, 2005, p 131)

    Tim Flannery did not predict that Sydney would never again experience heavy rainfall

    Tom Switzer:
    [When] Flannery appeared on the same show just recently … he was allowed to say that recent heavy rains in Sydney (that he said were not going to happen) were due to … global warming.
    When we're in drought, we're told its the fault of global warming; when there are heavy storms and floods, that's also the fault of global warming!

    Scientifically speaking, there is no inconsistency between reduced average rainfall and increased heavy rainfall events.
    Global warming tends to increase average rainfall in already wet regions while reducing rainfall in already dry regions.
    Warmer air carries more moisture, so while in some places it may rain less often, when it does rain, the rain is heavier.

    Available research suggests a significant future increase in heavy rainfall events in many regions, including some in which the mean rainfall is projected to decrease.
    (Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, 17 November 2007, p 49)

    CSIRO / BoM:
    For Australia as a whole, an increase in the number of dry days is expected, but it is also likely that rainfall will be heavier during wet periods.
    (State of the Climate 2012, 13 March 2012, p 11)

    Arctic sea ice and global glacial retreat is progressing at an accelerating rate

    Tom Switzer:
    We're all aware of those debunked predictions such as the vanishing Himalayan glaciers, the disappearing North Polar ice cap …

    CSIRO / BoM:
    Arctic summer minimum sea-ice extent has declined by between 9.4 and 13.6 per cent per decade since 1979, a rate that is likely unprecedented in at least the past 1,450 years.
    (State of the Climate 2014, p 10)

    [Under adaptation only scenarios:]
    • a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in September before mid-century is likely [and]
    • global glacier volume … is projected to decrease … by 35 to 85% [by 2100]
    (medium confidence).
    (Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis — SPM, 27 September 2013, p 17)

    For every climate scientist that rejects the consensus position there are 32 who accept it

    Tom Switzer:
    There are many distinguished climate scientists such as [who have] criticized the IPPCs line on climate change. …

    Robert Mendelsohn [Professor of Economics, Yale University]:
    If Canada is a well-meaning member of the world community, Canadians might want to stop (global warming) because it's bad for the world.
    It's important that we start trying to control greenhouse gases. …
    Eventually it's going to get too warm [and the damages] will far exceed the benefits.
    (The UP side of global warming, The StarPhoenix, 10 January 2009)

    Stephen Schneider (1945–2010):
    [Not only did] Spencer and Christy [mislead] the world [and the scientific community for 25 years] based upon their [biased University of Alabama] satellite reconstruction, [its evident from their blogs that they did it] on purpose …
    [It] turned out they ['forgot' that] satellites fly in a proton soup [which] slows them down, lowers them, [and] changes the angle of the orbit [—] that's why they had a false cooling trend.
    (Climate Change Scepticism: Its Sources and Strategies, AAAS Forum, Science Show, ABC Radio National, 3 April 2010)

    Raymond Pierrehumbert:
    We now know, of course, that the satellite data set confirms that the climate is warming and indeed at very nearly the same rate as indicated by the surface temperature records.
    Now, there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes when pursuing an innovative observational method, but Spencer and Christy sat by for most of a decade allowing — indeed encouraging — the use of their data set as an icon for global warming skeptics.
    They committed serial errors in the data analysis, but insisted they were right and models and thermometers were wrong.
    They did little or nothing to root out possible sources of errors, and left it to others to clean up the mess — as has now been done.
    (How to cook a graph in three easy lessons, RealClimate, 21 May 2008)

  • Should the ABC be privatised?, Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, 10 June 2013.

    Tom Switzer:
    I do think there are a lot of very good, decent, sound and intellectually honest journalists at the ABC …
    [However,] most of the journalists who work [there come from a] cultural left liberal background — the university classes.
    [80% of Australian journalist have university degrees — even Rupert Murdoch had a bust of Marx on his desk when he was at Oxford.]
    You see the same thing at the BBC in Britain.
    And when they get in a room, they naturally think alike.
    There's hardly any case for dissenting views. …
    There's very little political and ideological diversity in many of these important producers' rooms at some of these current affairs shows — and it shows. …

    Amanda Vanstone:
    Would you say the same if, you felt that — if we're restricting ourselves, for the sake of this discussion, to the current affairs programs — did exhibit, what was accepted universally as an even hand, would you still say privatise?
    In other words, do you accept that there's a place for a national broadcaster to inform, enlighten, educate and offer diversity that the marketplace might not always seek? …

    Tom Switzer:
    Newsradio … is a first rate 24 hour network …
    Most of the journalists are just reading the news.
    There's not much commentary.
    There's not much chance to interpret the news, the way that you do on many of the current affairs programs.
    So I think there's a case there …

    … I'm told time and again … that the ABC consistently rates very highly in public opinion polling.
    Prestige and credibility has never been higher, according to these polls. …

    Amanda Vanstone:
    I'm told 89% of the public say … the ABC has a valuable role to play. …

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